Thurrott Daily: November 16

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile, Office, Xbox with 14 Comments

Thurrott Daily: November 16

Haarlem, The Netherlands

Tech tidbits from around the web.

11/16/2016 3:40:36 PM

Microsoft won’t provide extended support for Office 2007 products beyond October 2017 deadline

Microsoft acts, Mary Jo Foley explains:

It may seem like a long way away, but Microsoft’s Office 2007 products are hitting their end of support dates in 2017.

For larger enterprise shops which, in the past, have been able to extend support a bit longer with a custom contract as part of their Premier status, there’s a new wrinkle next year. Microsoft will not be offering this group custom support agreements as in the past.

A Microsoft spokesperson has attributed the change to growth in Office 365 subscriptions.

Google Translate gets more fluent

Having once again experienced the wonders of Google Translate on this trip to The Netherlands, I’m surprised to discover that it’s actually getting better again. Google announces:

Today, we’re introducing the next step in making Google Translate even better: Neural Machine Translation.

At a high level, the Neural system translates whole sentences at a time, rather than just piece by piece. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar. Since it’s easier to understand each sentence, translated paragraphs and articles are a lot smoother and easier to read. And this is all possible because of end-to-end learning system built on Neural Machine Translation, which basically means that the system learns over time to create better, more natural translations.

Today we’re putting Neural Machine Translation into action with a total of eight languages to and from English and French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish. These represent the native languages of around one-third of the world’s population, covering more than 35% of all Google Translate queries!

Amazing.

Some PS4 Pro titles running slower than base hardware

Eurogamer reports:

PlayStation 4 Pro testing continues at Digital Foundry and while impressions remain positive for what this system is capable of – especially when paired with a 4K display – there’s an aspect of platform performance affecting some games that we find concerning. Several titles are running at lower performance levels than the base PlayStation 4 versions, presumably owing to higher resolution support. As we understand it, this constitutes a fail.

the bottom line is this: for games like Skyrim, The Last of Us and Mantis Burn Racing, gameplay will actually be smoother overall on base PlayStation 4 hardware. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a little more complicated: we find that some scenes play at a noticeably lower frame-rate, while others hand in more consistent performance overall.

We presented our findings to Sony yesterday and received this comment: “We are aware of the issue and currently investigating.”

LOL. Wow. It’s like releasing a Pro laptop with no SD card slot. Actually, it’s worse.

Huawei Refused To Make Google’s Pixel Phones

This doesn’t surprise me, as I recently discovered that the year-old Nexus 6P is in fact a better phone than the new Pixel XL. Forbes reports:

The Nexus 6P was designed and manufactured by Huawei, but Google didn’t want its device partnership to end there. According to a Huawei executive, Google asked Huawei to make the Pixel phones as well. However, Huawei wasn’t interested.

The Pixel phones are the first phones the company has sold without the direct involvement of an OEM partner. That’s what Huawei didn’t like about the deal.

The Nexus phones (including Huawei’s Nexus 6P) always featured the maker’s branding, and in recent years Google even allowed them to be sold via outside sales channels. The Pixels are very different. There’s no branding other than Google’s, and it handles all the sales. The OEM partner is reduced to little more than a manufacturer.

Put simply, Huawei has too much self-respect to be Google’s bitch. Which makes me like them even more.

Apple releases iOS 10.2 and macOS 10.12.2 Public Beta 3, watchOS 3.1.1 Developer Beta 3

I’m on the private betas for this stuff, but as Neowin notes, there are new public builds of the next-gen Apple betas.

Apple today released a number of betas to both developers and Public Beta testers. Those on the Public Beta program got new iOS 10.2 and macOS 10.12.2 Sierra builds today, while developers got watchOS 3.1.1 beta 3, as well as a new version of Safari 10.0.2 (which is bundled with the current macOS build) for older versions of OS X.

It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of new there, beyond a return to an ass-like peach emoji, which passes for big news in Appleland.

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5 Comments
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  1. 1 | Reply
    ChristopherCollins Alpha Member #2122 - 3 weeks ago

    "Put simply, Huawei has too much self-respect to be Google’s bitch. Which makes me like them even more."

     

    Paul, that line may be the best I've ever seen you write.  This eclipses all the shortakes for me.  It literally made me laugh out loud.

  2. 1 | Reply
    ommoran Alpha Member #208 - 3 weeks ago

    So as I sometimes do, I read about the emoji thing and then stuck it in Bing.  As the kids say - Oh.  My.  God.  You have to be kidding me.  Buzzfeed had an entire article dedicated to... the inane, superfluous, means nothing to anyone's life in real terms, "peach-butt emoji".

    This is what people get excited over.  I'm amazed that Apple doesn't call it a "feature" or an "enhancement".

  3. 0 | Reply
    jongross Alpha Member #1100 - 2 weeks ago

    Microsoft also just launched their Neural Network models. http://www.winbeta.org/news/microsoft-translator-moves-to-neural-network-based-platform-available-to-developers

  4. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 weeks ago

    I disagree with Huawei on their stance, and it makes me dislike them.  They still would have been widely known for making the Pixel.  They were just being self engrossed and lost big money.  What business wants to do that?  Stupid.

  5. 0 | Reply
    johnbaxter Alpha Member #745 - 3 weeks ago

    And here I was imagining an equine, long eared peach image.